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The major theme in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is the cost of salvation. As Christian's journey proves, the road to Heaven is not easy, the cost is great, and the true Christian must be willing to pay the cost no matter what. Man is full of sin, but this does not keep him from attaining glory. Christian is an ordinary man who faces extraordinary obstacles and overcomes them all for a glimpse of heaven. His wife, Christiana, ultimately does the same.
Along with this main theme, Bunyan toys with a host of minor Themes, almost all of them related to religion. The importance of suffering, the debate between Grace and Works, and the perseverance of the Christian in the face of grave suffering are essential elements of the Christian allegory. Bunyan also stresses the importance of faith in overcoming fear and evil. He deals with Themes that are both puritanical and severe, uplifting and intimidating.
The mood of the entire book is highbrow and somber. Since the book is a religious allegory on the journey of man to the gates of heaven, each incident has been described with the gravity and seriousness of a life-or-death matter. The obstacles that the pilgrims face are awesome and traumatic, and they proceed in their journeys with great difficulty and forbearance.
Both parts of Pilgrim's Progress are saturated with a puritanical zeal for salvation. There is hardly any room for humor; ideas clearly supercede incidents as important elements of the work. Theme is more important than plot, narrative more important than action. As is common in allegories, the reader is aware that he or she must be learning, interpreting, thinking constantly-not merely enjoying the story.